By Deep South Media Account Director Rachel Read
When the UK woke up on November 9 half of America was in mourning and much of the world was shell-shocked at the bombshell news that Donald Trump was now the most powerful man in the world.
It would be fair to say the mood of the nation was not at its brightest.
But over at Deep South Media towers we were chuckling heartily – not about the US Presidential elections but something else that trumped everything for us that morning.
And what was this moment of mirth that helped us forget everything? A road sign.
Yes, you read that correctly, a road sign.
But not any old road sign – it’s the kind of road sign that you’d only find in England.
Our countryside is blessed with some of the silliest place names going and if you’re lucky to live in or visit the New Forest you can’t have helped but titter at the names of Sandy Balls and the Fighting Cocks.
Well, you’ll be pleased to know that road works in Fordingbridge have not affected those two great institutions. No, as the road sign proudly announced:
It was a photo of this, captured by our MD Ron Wain whose home is nearby, which created the belly laughs.
Childish? Yes! Funny? Definitely.
And sometimes in this world we all need a jolly good laugh.
So we decided to take a few minutes out of our busy schedule to share the joke with our friends and followers on Facebook.
And it soon became clear we weren’t the only ones in need of a good old harmless cheer-me-up.
By the afternoon of November 10 our Facebook post had been liked and shared 4,200 times – reaching an audience of 273,000, which is much bigger than the size of Bournemouth (183,491).
And for us, that’s viral.
As communication professionals we like nothing better than reaching a big audience so we were, as you can imagine, thrilled.
So what makes a social media post go viral – and not just reach the tens of thousands like ours did, but the millions?
Laughter is infectious and no so much more when a person’s uncontrollable giggles make you cry for joy as well.
Who can forget the sheer happiness of American lady Candace Payne when she tried on the Chewbacca mask for the first time in her car and fell into a fit of laughter?
That simple video made on her smart phone and posted on Facebook has now been viewed an incredible 161 million times. Now that’s viral.
The Awww Factor
Children and cute animals – you can’t go far wrong with either of those. One of the first videos to attract the ‘viral’ label is now almost 10 years-old – Charlie bit my finger. You must have been living in a cave to never have seen this YouTube post which has now been viewed an eye-watering 842 million times.
It resonates not just because it’s cute but we all recognise that sibling relationship as parents of siblings and being siblings ourselves.
Pulling at the heartstrings
The 40 year-old filmed himself in his car singing wonderfully alongside his dad Ted, 80, who has Alzheimer’s.
That touch of dashcam magic has not only been viewed hundreds of thousands of times since just August, it’s also raised thousands for the Alzheimer’s Society.
And what do all of the posts have in common? They are just ordinary people like you and I making others smile.
In today’s world where there is so much sadness we certainly hope such feel-good posts remain virally infectious.